From Lindsay Rittenhouse of Adweek: Brick and mortar once dominated the retail landscape during the holiday season, but 2017 marketing trends make it clear this is no longer the case. Americans who previously went to extremes like sleeping outside chain stores and inadvertently starring in viral Black Friday brawl videos are shopping online in ever greater numbers—and retail brands have been forced to adapt.
This year, more big chains and their agency partners are abandoning long-form, emotionally resonant storytelling in favor of shorter spots focused on exclusive deals and repeat shoppers.
“We’re thinking about retail in a very new way,” Kohl’s CMO, Greg Revelle, told Adweek. “We’re really leaning into our loyalty program.”
Toys R Us kept things shorter and more light-hearted with “The Naughty List Is Not an Option,” which includes funny spots in which kids work to be on their best behavior ahead of Christmas. The ad has a storytelling element, but it’s not at all like the tearjerker “Tree” from 2015, which focused not on a single toy or gadget, but on a budding friendship between a little girl and her older neighbor.
Similar to the others, JCPenney’s holiday campaign is driven by price. The brand and its agency of record, mcgarrybowen, tapped real customers to take “the JCPenney Holiday Challenge” which highlights the exclusivity of its product assortment and low prices.
Sears, too, is focusing heavily on deals and promotions this year. The retailer’s main promotion was its Holiday Blowout sale. Sears spokesman Brian Hanover said the effort was “one of the biggest storewide promotions in recent years” for the retailer.